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article imageItalian court sentences former PM Berlusconi to 4 years in prison

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By David Silverberg     Oct 26, 2012 in World
An Italian court handed down its verdict against former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and 10 others in a six-year-old tax fraud trial. Berlusconi will serve four years in prison, the Milan court announced.
He has also been barred from politics for five years.
The verdict comes two days after Berlusconi, 76, said he will not run for premier in upcoming elections. "The three-time premier stepped down last November after Italy came under mounting market pressure to deal with its high debt load and Berlusconi failed to come up with persuasive financial reforms," according to AP.
The sentence came in a trial focused on the purchase of rights to show US films on television. Prosecutors said the defendants were behind a scam to purchase the rights to broadcast U.S. movies on Berlusconi's private television networks through a series of offshore companies and had falsely declared the payments to avoid taxes.
In Italy, cases must pass two levels of appeal before the verdicts are final, according to Sky News. Berlusconi is expected to appeal the decision.
The 50th prime minister of Italy, Berlusconi served in office from 2008 to 2011. He faced a fair share of controversy during his career, such as the allegations he paid Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug for sexual services between February and May 2010.
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More about Berlusconi, Italy, Prime minister, Tax evasion, Milan
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